Child Protection Policy - Date Reviewed Date of next review - Autism Bedfordshire

 
Child Protection Policy

               Date             19th January 2017
          Reviewed                  19th July 2018
Date of next review                 19th July 2019
Child Protection Policy   1

                            CHILD PROTECTION POLICY
The policy is part of an integrated suite of policies all aimed at ensuring the safety and
wellbeing of children and young people using Autism Bedfordshire’s services.

LOCAL SAFEGUARDING CONTACT NUMBERS
AUTISM BEDFORDSHIRE
Appointed Safeguarding Officer                          01234 350704

EMERGENCY SOCIAL SERVICES NUMBERS
Duty Social Services Officer Desk (08:45 – 17:20)
LUTON BOROUGH                      Initial Assessment Team 01582 547653
CENTRAL BEDFORDSHIRE               Intake & Assessment Team 0300 300 8585
BEDFORD BOROUGH                    Multi Assessment support Hub 01234 718700
OUT OF HOURS EMERGENCY DUTY TEAM:
Luton Borough, Central Bedfordshire                                               0300 300 8123
& Bedford Borough

LOCAL POLICE STATIONS
NORTH & MID BEDFORDSHIRE                                                        01234 841212
LUTON & SOUTH BEDFORDSHIRE                                                      01582 401212
IF IN IMMEDIATE DANGER                                                          999

OFSTED                                                                          0300 123 1231

Supporting Guidance and Legislation
The Education Act DfE 2002
The Children’s Act DfE 2004
Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006
Working Together to Safeguard Children June 2015
Keeping Children Safe in Education DfE March 2015
Guidance for Safer Working Practices 2015
Prevent Strategy
Information sharing for safeguarding practitioners March 2015
What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused DfE March 2015
The Protection of Children and Young People with Autism from Violence and Abuse NAS

          Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
         Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   2

Contents
Contents ......................................................................... 2

Purpose........................................................................... 4

Scope .............................................................................. 5

Aims ................................................................................ 5

Roles & Responsibilities.................................................. 5

The Autism Bedfordshire Trustees’ responsibilities ........ 5

Designated Person for Child Protection Responsibilities 6

Staff Responsibilities....................................................... 7

Autism Bedfordshire....................................................... 7

Safeguarding Legislation and guidance .......................... 8

What is Child Abuse? ...................................................... 9

Abuse .............................................................................. 9

Physical Abuse ................................................................ 9

Emotional Abuse ............................................................. 9

Sexual Abuse ................................................................. 10

Neglect.......................................................................... 10

Indicators of abuse ....................................................... 10

Physical Abuse: ............................................................. 10

Emotional Abuse:.......................................................... 10

Sexual Abuse:................................................................ 11

Sexual Exploitation: ...................................................... 11

Neglect:......................................................................... 11

Concerns under Prevent ............................................... 11

Safeguarding in specific circumstances: Female Genital Mutilation ("FGM") 12

Safeguarding in specific circumstances: Forced Marriage12

Safeguarding Children in Specific Circumstances: Peer on Peer abuse 12

                Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
               Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   3

Safeguarding Children in Specific Circumstances: Sexualised behaviours 12

Safeguarding Children in Specific Circumstances: Gang related violence 13

Safeguarding Children in Specific Circumstances: Youth Generated Sexualised imagery                           13

Safeguarding Children in specific circumstances: Child Sexual Exploitation                     14

Working with Parents and Carers................................. 15

Children with Additional Needs - including English as an Additional Language (EAL)                      15

Broader Aspects of Care ............................................... 16

Recruitment, Induction and Training of Staff ............... 17

Recruitment .................................................................. 17

Induction ....................................................................... 18

Training......................................................................... 18

Volunteers and Contractors .......................................... 19

Visitors .......................................................................... 19

Online Child Protection Guidance ................................ 19

Help Young People Surf in Safety.................................. 20

Kids' Rules for Online Safety ......................................... 20

What should I do if you come across child pornography on the online?                      21

Managing Disclosures ................................................... 21

Recording and Reporting Concerns .............................. 22

Confidentiality, Records and Information Sharing ....... 24

Safer Working Practices................................................ 24

If you have Concerns about a Colleague ...................... 25

Managing Allegations ................................................... 26

Reporting Concerns ...................................................... 26

Listening to children ..................................................... 26

Taking Action ................................................................ 26

                Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
               Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   4

Recording ...................................................................... 27

Ongoing Support........................................................... 27

Disqualification from providing childcare or registration, including 'by association'                  27

Monitoring and Evaluation of the Policy ...................... 28

Purpose
To create awareness amongst staff and volunteers of children’s safeguarding issues and to
outline procedures when responding to an incident, allegation or concern of abuse involving
children in our care.

This policy provides an overarching view of safeguarding children and is part of a suite of
Safeguarding policies, as such must be read in conjunction with the E- Safety Policy, Recruitment
Policy and Staff Supervision and Management Policy.

This local policy is available on the Autism Bedfordshire website.

Autism Bedfordshire will ensure that, wherever practicable, all children and young people and
where appropriate parents and carers have access to the Autism Bedfordshire Child
Safeguarding procedures in a format that they can understand.

At Autism Bedfordshire we believe that the only way to effectively safeguard the wellbeing
of the children and young people that use our services is to put them at the centre of a system
in which they feel safe and in which they can communicate and be understood. Autism
Bedfordshire provides services for children and young people on the autism spectrum. We
recognise that children and young people with disabilities are at a higher risk of experiencing
abuse and are an extremely vulnerable group.

Autism is a spectrum condition and all of the children and young people who use our services
are individuals, however, all of them have differences in the way that they understand
communication and struggle to communicate their own emotions and needs. They have
difficulties in understanding social relationships and may have a rigidity and inflexibility, which
may extend into every aspect of their thinking, language and behaviour. They may also have
significant differences in the way that they process the information they receive through their
senses.

All of our staff should be alert to the indicators of abuse, but must bear in mind that some of
these indicators can also be traits of autism, such as avoiding eye-contact and being
withdrawn. This makes it more difficult to identify abuse and careful exploration is required. It
is important to identify any changes in behaviour and to explore what may lie behind this.

               Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
              Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   5

Every individual within Autism Bedfordshire will play their part in safeguarding our vulnerable
service users, including in working in partnership with parents, carers and colleagues from other
agencies in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.

We will provide activities that will develop communication skills, choice making, emotional well-
being, life skills. We have an ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure
environment, which gives the children and young people a sense of being valued.

Scope
This policy applies throughout Autism Bedfordshire’s Children’s Services and in addition to
children and young people attending our Loads of Autistic Fun (LOAF) and Wanted Fun groups it
also includes children involved in other services such as Community Support, Summer Activity
Schemes and extended services.

Please note that this policy refers to the Autism Bedfordshire Appointed Safeguarding Officer
and this is the named person responsible for leading on Safeguarding for Autism Bedfordshire
(this role may be referred to as the named person, designated lead for child protection in
statutory guidance). The Appointed Safeguarding Officer may delegate duties to a number of
staff trained in safeguarding.

Aims
       To provide a safe environment for children and young people with autistic spectrum
        conditions
       To promote welfare and safety of children and young people and ensure robust systems
        are in place to protect children and young people from harm
       To create a culture which recognises and understands the importance of safeguarding
       To prevent unsuitable people from working with children and young people
       To ensure appropriate systems are in place to keep children and young people safe and
        encourage poor practice to be challenged
       To identify instances in which there are grounds for concern about a child’s welfare, and
        initiate or take appropriate action to keep them safe
       To report young people at risk of exploitation, grooming or radicalisation
       To provide guidance on reporting suspected abuse and a ensure an appropriate
        systematic process for responding to an incident, allegation or concern of abuse
       To ensure that allegations of abuse are dealt with fairly, quickly and consistently
       To support victims of abuse in line with their child protection plan

Roles & Responsibilities
The Autism Bedfordshire Trustees’ responsibilities
    Ratify and regularly review this policy to ensure it conforms to relevant law and
       guidance

           Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   6

      The Autism Bedfordshire board of trustees has overall responsibility for ensuring that
       there are sufficient and appropriate measures in place to safeguard the children and
       young people using Autism Bedfordshire’s Services.
      The chair of the board of trustees will ensure that enhanced DBS checks are undertaken
       for other members of the board and where such a check has been undertaken, an
       enhanced DBS certificate is obtained.
      Nominate a member of Autism Bedfordshire staff responsible for child protection who
       will liaise with the designated officers from the relevant local authorities and partner
       agencies in the event of allegations of abuse being made against a member Autism
       Bedfordshire Staff
      refer to the DBS anyone who has harmed, or poses a risk of harm, to a child or
       vulnerable adult
            o where the harm test is satisfied in respect of that individual
            o where the individual has received a caution or conviction for a relevant offence,
                 or
            o there is reason to believe that individual has committed a listed relevant
                 offence;
            o and that individual has been removed from working (paid or unpaid) in
                 regulated activity, or would have been removed had they not left;
      where a member of staff is dismissed or the services of a member of staff are no longer
       used because of serious misconduct, or might have dismissed them or ceased to use
       their services had they not left first, consider whether to refer the case to the Secretary
       of State, as required by sections 141D and 141E of the Education Act 2002;
      ensure that staff have skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to keep looked
       after children safe. Ensure appropriate staff have information they need in relation to a
       child’s looked after legal status and contact arrangements with birth parents or those
       with parental responsibilities;
      ensure there is a designated member of staff to promote the educational achievement
       of children who are looked after and ensure that this individual has appropriate training.
       The designated member of staff should ensure that the Appointed Safeguarding Officer
       has details of the child’s social worker and the name of the virtual Autism Bedfordshire
       head in the authority that looks after the child;
      have regard to how children may be taught about safeguarding, including online;
      Ensure any deficiencies in child protection arrangements are remedied without delay;
       and
      Ensure that this policy and associated procedures are reviewed annually.

Designated Person for Child Protection Responsibilities
    Attend appropriate safeguarding training every two years and refresh their knowledge
       and skills at least once a year.
    Ensure the local safeguarding procedures take account of guidance issued by the host
       Local Authority

          Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
         Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   7

       Ensure that the Autism Bedfordshire’s designated safeguarding lead is given sufficient
        time to carry out their duties, including accessing training.
       Complete an annual safeguarding audit with the responsible individual
       Ensure all relevant staff are aware of this policy, receive appropriate training are aware
        of Autism Bedfordshire’s systems to support safeguarding and follow this policy and
        procedures
       Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed
       Ensure effective reporting to board of trustees.
       To ensure appropriate duty of care to employees and minimise the stress inherent in
        the investigation process.
       Liaise with other services and assist staff with their safeguarding duties.

Staff Responsibilities
     All staff are responsible for familiarising themselves with this policy
     All staff are responsible for reporting any concerns about a child’s well-being or safety
        to the Appointed Safeguarding Officer
     Members of staff are not responsible for investigating concerns or suspicions.

Autism Bedfordshire
Autism Bedfordshire acknowledges its responsibilities for safeguarding and child protection. We
recognise our responsibility to protect children from maltreatment, prevent impairment of
children’s health or development, ensure that children grow up in circumstances consistent with
the provision of safe and effective care and take action to enable all children to have the best
outcomes.

Autistic children share the right of all children to protection from abuse. We know that autistic
children are potentially more vulnerable, because they may find it difficult to communicate with
others, struggle with social interaction or have difficulties understanding people’s motives, they
may be less able to report abuse and thus be more vulnerable to it. This necessitates greater
vigilance among professionals in recognising, reporting and investigating potential signs of
abuse as well as ensuring that safeguarding issues remain on the agenda when working with
autistic children and young people.

Our policy applies to all Autism Bedfordshire staff, volunteers and trustees. It is acknowledged
that the role of the trustees will be a monitoring and supporting one whereas staff will be
actively involved in the management of safeguarding and child protection issues on a daily basis.

This Child Protection Policy forms part of a suite of documents and policies which relate to the
safeguarding responsibilities of Autism Bedfordshire staff:

       Staff Supervision and Management Policy
       Health and Safety Policy
       Behaviour Management Policy

           Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   8

       Data Protection Policy
       Anti-Bullying Policy
       Recruitment Policy

The main elements to our policy are:

       Practising safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work
        with children
       Raising awareness of child protection issues and equipping children with the skills
        needed to keep them safe
       Developing and then implementing procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or
        suspected cases, of abuse
       Supporting students who have been abused in accordance with their agreed child
        protection plan
       Establishing a safe environment in which children can learn and develop
       Ensuring compliance with Prevent Duty (“Prevent”) obligations.

Autism Bedfordshire recognises that because of their day to day contact with children, staff and
volunteers are well placed to observe the outward signs of abuse, changes in behaviour and
failure to develop. Autism Bedfordshire will therefore:

       Strive to establish and maintain an environment where children feel secure, are
        encouraged to talk, and are listened to.
       To establish and maintain an environment where staff and volunteers feel safe, are
        encouraged to talk and are listened to when they have concerns regarding the safety
        and wellbeing of a child.
       Let children know that there are staff within the organisation that they can approach if
        they are worried.
       Provide child protection training for all staff and volunteers.

We will follow the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).

Autism Bedfordshire will ensure that, wherever practicable, all children and young people and
where appropriate parents and carers, have access to this policy in a format they can
understand.

Safeguarding Legislation and guidance
The relevant statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ can be found here:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_dat
a/file/729914/Working_Together_to_Safeguard_Children-2018.pdf

           Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   9

What is Child Abuse?
Identifying safeguarding issues for autistic children and knowing what should be investigated
can be complex as many traits of autism can be confused with signs of abuse and neglect.
Autistic children may be especially vulnerable to abuse, including because they may have an
impaired capacity to resist or avoid abuse. They may have speech, language and communication
needs which may make it difficult to tell others what is happening. Children also develop and
mature at different rates so what appears to be worrying for a younger child might be normal
behaviour for an older child.

Parental behaviours may also indicate child abuse or neglect, so staff and volunteers should also
be alert to parent-child interactions which are concerning and other parental behaviours. This
could include parents who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if there is a sudden
change in their mental health.

By understanding the warning signs, we can respond to problems as early as possible and ensure
that the right support and services are provided for the child and their family. All staff should be
aware of the signs of abuse and neglect. These descriptions are taken from the DfE guidance
‘Keeping children safe in education’.

Abuse
Abuse is a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting
harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another
child or children.

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning,
burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.
Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or
deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and
adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that
they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of
another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views,
deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may
feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These
may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as
overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating
in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may
involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened
or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is
involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone. DfE advice on
cyberbullying can be found here:

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          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   10

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/374850/Cy
berbullying_Advice_for_Headteachers_and school_Staff_121114.pdf

Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities,
not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is
happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for
example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and
touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving
children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities,
encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in
preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by
adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

Neglect
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs,
likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may
occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect
may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including
exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or
danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure
access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or
unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Indicators of abuse
There are a number of warning indicators which might suggest that a child may be being abused
or neglected. It is recognised that warning signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect can
vary from child to child and a warning sign does not automatically mean a child is being abused.
Set out below are some examples of signs which may be indicators of abuse taken from
Government non-statutory guidance ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’
(these examples are not exhaustive)

Physical Abuse:
    children with frequent injuries;
    children with unexplained or unusual fractures or broken bones; and/or
    children with unexplained bruises or buts, burns or scalds or bite marks.

Emotional Abuse:
    children who are excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something
       wrong;
    parents or carers who humiliate their child, for example, by name-calling or making
       negative comparisons; and/or
    parents or carers blaming their problems on their child.

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          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   11

Sexual Abuse:
    children who display knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to their age;
    children who use sexual language or have sexual knowledge that you would not expect
        them to have; and/or
    children with physical sexual health problems, including soreness in the genital and anal
        areas, sexually transmitted infections or underage pregnancy.

Sexual Exploitation:
    children who have older boyfriends or girlfriends;
    children who appear with unexplained gifts or new possessions; and/or
    children who regularly miss Autism Bedfordshire or education or don’t take part in
        education.

Neglect:
    children who do not have adequate clothing e.g. not having a winter coat;
    children who are hungry or dirty; and/or
    children who are often angry, aggressive or self-harm.

Members of staff are expected to be aware of signs of abuse and neglect so that they are able to
identify cases of children who may need help or protection. All staff have a responsibility to
report any concerns they may have to the relevant Appointed Safeguarding Officer or where
appropriate child protection services (as set out in this policy); however they are not required or
expected to investigate or decide whether a child has been abused.

Concerns under Prevent
We recognise that Autism Bedfordshire’s groups and activities are intended to be safe places in
which children, young people and staff can understand the risks associated with terrorism and
develop the knowledge and skills to be able to challenge extremist arguments. Autism
Bedfordshire acknowledges its duty to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from
being drawn into terrorism”.

In compliance with this duty Autism Bedfordshire where applicable will:

• carry out risk assessments in order to assess the risk of children being drawn into terrorism,
including support for extremist ideas that are part of terrorist ideology (including the risk of
online radicalisation);

• promote fundamental British values;

• ensure all staff undertake the online general awareness training module on Channel:
http://course.ncalt.com/Channel_General_Awareness/01/index.html and are aware of when it
is appropriate to make a referral to the Channel programme (Channel is a programme which
focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable
to being drawn into terrorism); and

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Child Protection Policy   12

• ensure that there are suitable filters in place for all IT equipment and that children and young
people are equipped with the knowledge to stay safe online. Every member of staff will be
aware of the risks posed by the online activity of extremist and terrorist groups.

Safeguarding in specific circumstances: Female Genital Mutilation ("FGM")
If staff have concerns that FGM has taken place, as well as reporting this to the police, they
should also activate local safeguarding procedures using existing and national and local
protocols. Unless the member of staff has a good reason not to, they should still consider and
discuss any case of FGM with the Appointed Safeguarding Officer and involve children's social
care as appropriate.

Safeguarding in specific circumstances: Forced Marriage
A 'forced' marriage (as distinct from a consensual 'arranged' marriage) is defined as one
conducted without the valid consent of at least one of the parties and where duress is a factor.
Duress cannot be justified on religious or cultural grounds. Forced marriages of children may
involve non-consensual and/or underage sex, emotional and possibly physical abuse and should
be regarded as a child protection issue and referred to Children's Social Care. Forced marriage is
primarily, but not exclusively, an issue of abuse against girls and young women, however there is
evidence to suggest that 15% of victims are male.

Safeguarding Children in Specific Circumstances: Peer on Peer abuse
Autism Bedfordshire recognises that children can abuse other children and such behaviours are
never viewed simply as ‘banter’ or as part of growing up. We recognise that peer on peer abuse
can take many different forms such as:

Cyber-bullying
 Sending or posting sexually suggestive images including nude or semi-nude photographs via
mobiles or over the internet by persons aged under 18 (referred to as Youth Produced Sexual
Imagery)
Sexual assault
Sexually harmful or problematic behaviour
Gang initiation or hazing type violence

Safeguarding Children in Specific Circumstances: Sexualised behaviours

Where children display sexualised behaviours, the behaviours will be considered in accordance
with the children’s developmental understanding, age and impact on the alleged victim. Tools
such as Brook Traffic Light Tool will be used to assist in determining whether the behaviour is
developmental or a cause for concern. This will assist in ensuring the child/ren receive the right
support at the right time either via an Early Help response or referral to Children’s Social Care

 In all cases of peer on peer abuse Autism Bedfordshire will consider the vulnerability of all
children including those alleged to have caused the harm and those alleged to be victims and
provide a safeguarding response consistent with the LSCB Thresholds Framework.

           Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   13

Where necessary, Autism Bedfordshire behaviour policies will be invoked and any sanctions
applied will be consistent with these procedures.

Where issues indicate that a criminal offence may have been committed a report will be made
to Bedfordshire police.

Safeguarding Children in Specific Circumstances: Gang related violence

Autism Bedfordshire recognises the risks posed to children in relation to involvement in gang
related activity which may be street gang, peer group or organised crime. Young people who are
involved in gangs are more likely to suffer harm themselves, through retaliatory violence,
displaced retaliation, territorial violence with other gangs or other harm suffered whilst
committing a crime. In addition children may experience violence as part of an initiation or
hazing practices.

Autism Bedfordshire understands that Early Help can be crucial in the early identification of
children who may need additional support due to gang related activity and as such will provide
an early help response when concerns are raised about indicators of gang activity. If, however
information suggests a child may be at risk of significant harm due to gang related activity, a
referral will be made to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub within Children’s Social Care.

Where there are concerns that a child or young person may be, or is at risk of becoming
involved in gang related activity, a referral will be made to the MAG panel in accordance with
Local procedures as part of the safeguarding response. See Appendix 13 for more information.

Safeguarding Children in Specific Circumstances: Youth Generated Sexualised
imagery

Autism Bedfordshire recognises the impact of online social communication and the issue of
sending or posting sexually suggestive images including nude or semi-nude photographs via
mobiles or over the internet. We pay due regard to the Guidance issued by the UK Council for
Child Internet Safety in relation to how we respond to incidents.

In all cases where an incident of youth produced sexual imagery is reported the following
actions will be undertaken:

       The incident should be reported to the Designated Person for Child Protection as soon
        as possible.

       Designated Person for Child Protection should hold an initial review discussion or
        meeting with appropriate staff.

       There should be subsequent interviews with the young people involved (if appropriate).

       Parents should be informed at an early stage and involved in the process unless there is
        good reason to believe that involving parents would put the young person at risk of
        harm.

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          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   14

At any point in the process if there is a concern a young person has been harmed or is at risk of
harm a referral should be made to children’s social care and/or the police immediately.

An immediate referral will be made to the Police and Social care in the following circumstances:

       The incident involves an adult
       There is reason to believe that a young person has been coerced, blackmailed or
        groomed, or if there are concerns about their capacity to consent (for example, owing to
        special educational needs)
       the imagery suggests the content depicts sexual acts which are unusual for the young
        person’s developmental stage, or are violent
       The imagery involves sexual acts and any pupil in the imagery is under 13
       There is reason to believe a young person is at immediate risk of harm owing to the
        sharing of the imagery, for example, the young person is presenting as suicidal or self-
        harming

If none of the above applies Autism Bedfordshire may choose to deal with the incident without
involving the police or social care. This will usually be the case where the Designated Person for
Child Protection is confident that they have enough information to assess the risks to the
children involved and the risks can be managed within Autism Bedfordshire’s support and
disciplinary framework. All decisions and rationale for decision making will be recorded. All
decisions will be based on the best interests of the child/ren .

Autism Bedfordshire will pay due regard to the Department for Education guidance: Searching,
Screening and Confiscation advice.

Adult staff and volunteers will not view youth produced sexual imagery unless there is a good
and clear reason to do so. Wherever possible the Designated Person for Child Protection will
respond to an incident based on what they have been told about the imagery.

All incidents will be recorded. More information is available in Appendix 12.

Safeguarding Children in specific circumstances: Child Sexual Exploitation

The sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations,
contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive
‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a
result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities.

Child sexual exploitation can occur through use of technology without the child’s immediate
recognition, for example the persuasion to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones
with no immediate payment or gain. In all cases those exploiting the child/young person have
power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or
other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative
relationships being characterised in the main by the child or young person's limited availability
of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability

           Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   15

Autism Bedfordshire recognises that both boys and girls can be vulnerable to Child Sexual
Exploitation and as such ensure staff are alert to signs and indicators

Autism Bedfordshire recognises that there are various ‘models’ of CSE which include but not
limited to: Gangs and groups Boyfriend/Girlfriend model Peer on Peer Familial Online Abuse of
authority.

Where concerns are identified in relation to Child Sexual Exploitation the LSCB thresholds
framework will be consulted in order to ensure the child receives support at the earliest possible
opportunity.

An Early Help multi agency response may be initiated by completing an Early Help Assessment
form and engaging with the Early Help Hub or Stronger family’s team. Where parental consent
cannot be obtained, advice will be sought from the Early Help Hub

If a child is thought to be at risk of significant harm through child sexual exploitation a referral
will be made to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub within children’s social care.

In all cases intelligence will be shared with Bedfordshire Police using the intelligence form which
will also be copied to the Single Point Of Contact for CSE within the relevant local authority.

Working with Parents and Carers
Autism Bedfordshire is committed to working in partnership with parents and carers to promote
the well-being and safety of children and young people using our services. Working Together to
Safeguard Children 2015 states “Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare
of children than reacting later on”.

A copy of our Safeguarding Policy will be provided to parents at induction and will also be
published on our website. Parents and carers will be informed of our legal duty to promote
the welfare of children and young people using our services and to report concerns to statutory
agencies should it be necessary. However Autism Bedfordshire will normally seek to sensitively
discuss any concerns about a child with their parents/carers.

We respect the right of parents and carers to privacy and confidentiality and will not share
sensitive information unless we have permission or it is necessary to do so in order to
safeguard a child from harm.

Children with Additional Needs - including English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Autism Bedfordshire’s recruitment is targeted to match the primary languages and/or have a
communication history with the child and we use symbols to communicate.

We recognise that disabled children are at an increased risk of being abused compared with
their non-disabled peers. They are also less likely to receive the protection and support they
need when they have been abused.

Factors that increase risk and lessen protection for disabled children include:

           Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   16

       attitudes and assumptions – e.g. a reluctance to believe disabled children are abused;
        minimising the impact of abuse; and attributing indicators of abuse to the child's
        impairment
       barriers to the disabled child and their family accessing support services
       issues related to a child's specific impairment – e.g. dependency on a number of carers
        for personal or intimate care; impaired capacity to resist/avoid abuse, difficulties in
        communicating; and an inability to understand what is happening or to seek help.
       limited opportunities for disabled children to seek help from someone else
       a lack of professional skills, expertise and confidence in identifying child protection
        concerns and the lack of an effective child protection response.

    Research shows that:

       disabled children are at a greater risk of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and
        neglect than non-disabled children
       disabled children at greatest risk of abuse are those with behaviour/conduct disorders.
        Other high-risk groups include children with learning difficulties/disabilities, children
        with speech and language difficulties, children with health-related conditions and deaf
        children.
       disabled children in residential care face particular risks
       bullying is a feature in the lives of many disabled children.

Wherever possible we aim to include activities that promote:

       personal safety skills activities, including sex and relationships education, that raise
        disabled children's awareness of abuse and ability to seek help
       peer support, which can have a beneficial effect on reducing bullying and enabling
        children to explore issues and make decisions.
       creative therapies, which can provide children with opportunities to express themselves
        through indirect and non-verbal means.

We understand and are committed to the need to share existing knowledge and good practice
and work towards ensuring equal protection for disabled children. We aim to do this by:

       raising awareness about the abuse of disabled children and challenging attitudes and
        assumptions that act as barriers to protection
       raising disabled children's awareness of abuse and ability to seek help including access
        to personal safety skills training
       building on good practice and measures already in place that help ensure the effective
        delivery of child protection for disabled children.

Broader Aspects of Care

Safeguarding is not just about protecting children, learners and vulnerable adults from
deliberate harm, neglect and failure to act. It relates to broader aspects of care and education,
including:

       children’s health and safety and well-being, including their mental health

           Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   17

       meeting the needs of children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities
       the use of reasonable force
       meeting the needs of children and learners with medical conditions
       providing first aid
       intimate care and emotional well-being
       online safety and associated issues
       appropriate arrangements to ensure children’s safety and security.

Recruitment, Induction and Training of Staff
Recruitment
Autism Bedfordshire has written recruitment and selection policies and procedures in place and
these will be followed at all times.

For all candidates:

       written information about previous employment history must be provided;
       checks need to be carried out to ensure that the information is not contradictory or
        incomplete; and
       before interview all shortlisted candidates’ references will be sought (including internal
        ones).

Any information about past disciplinary action or allegations must be considered carefully when
assessing an applicant’s suitability for the post.

Any offer of employment is conditional (and it shall be made clear to the successful candidate
that this is the case) on satisfactory completion of the necessary pre-employment checks. These
checks include:

       verification of candidates’ identity;
       obtaining a certificate for an enhanced DBS check which will include barred list
        information, for those who will be engaging in regulated activity;
       verification of the person’s right to work in the UK;
       where the individual has worked outside the UK any other checks Autism Bedfordshire
        considers appropriate have been carried out; and
       where Childcare (Disqualification) Regulations 2009 applies the candidate will be
        required to provide Autism Bedfordshire with information requested to enable Autism
        Bedfordshire to comply with its obligations under the Regulations. Staff must advise the
        Appointed Safeguarding Officer of any changes to the information provided. The
        candidate will be made aware of the provisions of the Childcare (Disqualification)
        Regulations 2009, including the fact that they may be disqualified ‘by association’ under
        regulation where they live in the same household as a disqualified person or in a
        household in which a disqualified person is employed.

           Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   18

Induction
Staff induction will include an explanation of the systems within Autism Bedfordshire which
support safeguarding and the child protection policy and the staff Code of Conduct

On induction all staff will receive a copy of the following documents which the individual must
read and become familiar with:

       a copy of this Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy;
       the Staff Code of Conduct;
       where providing education, childcare or supervised activity during Autism Bedfordshire
        hours to children under reception age, or outside of Autism Bedfordshire hours for
        children above reception age and under eight staff will read the DfE statutory guidance
        Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 and any Ofsted guidance referenced in the
        statutory guidance.

Staff will be notified as to the names of the Appointed Safeguarding Officer responsible for child
protection and their role. The induction will make clear that all staff should refer to the
Appointed Safeguarding Officer if they have any concerns or that in emergencies or where a
member of staff have a genuine concern that appropriate action has not been taken, staff
members can speak directly to children’s social care.

Where the individual holding the post of Appointed Safeguarding Officer changes, this change
will be notified to all staff and trustees as soon as practicable.

Autism Bedfordshire will keep a single central record – covering all staff (including volunteers)
and record whether the following checks have been carried out or certificates obtained, and the
date on which each check was completed /certificate obtained:

       an identity check;
       a barred list check;
       an enhanced DBS check/certificate;
       a prohibition from teaching check;
       a prohibition from management check;
       further checks on people living or working outside the UK;
       a check of professional qualifications;
       a check to establish the person’s right to work in the UK;
       where checks are carried out on volunteers, this should also be recorded on the single
        central record.

Training
Upon induction and regularly thereafter, Autism Bedfordshire will make sure that all staff
receive adequate training in child protection and are aware of systems which support
safeguarding.

           Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   19

All new members of staff will receive training in safeguarding vulnerable children including
potential signs of abuse and how to report it as part of their initial induction. Staff will also have
refresher training every year focusing on:

       working alone with a child safely
       preventing abuse
       recognising abuse
       reporting suspicions of abuse

Staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and
potential failures in Autism Bedfordshire’s safeguarding regime. Appropriate whistleblowing
procedures, which are suitably reflected in staff training and staff behaviour policies, are in
place for such concerns to be raised with the Autism Bedfordshire’s management team.

Volunteers and Contractors
Autism Bedfordshire will ensure all volunteers receive a copy of this policy and are aware who
the Appointed Safeguarding Officer is and their role, and know to refer to them if they have any
safeguarding concerns.

The appropriate level of DBS check will be undertaken for all volunteers and contractors. Where
a volunteer or contractor will be engaging in regulated activity a certificate for an enhanced DBS
check including barred list information must be obtained. If a volunteer will not be engaging in
regulated activity, but will have the opportunity to come into contact with children on a regular
basis a DBS certificate will be obtained.

All contractors and their staff’s identity will be checked upon arrival at Autism Bedfordshire.

Visitors
All visitors to Autism Bedfordshire activities will sign in and wear a visitor’s badge. They will be
appropriately accompanied around the venue.

Online Child Protection Guidance
Many groups and projects involve internet access and IT equipment. Where internet access is
made available to children and young people then the Online Child Protection Guidance must be
observed by all staff.

The areas of risk are:-

       Child sex offenders – the Internet is an ideal medium for sex offenders. It provides them
        a forum to access children without letting their identity be known, access to child porn
        and contact to share information regarding children with other offenders. Children can
        be ‘groomed’ through chat rooms – sex offenders often talk to children pretending they
        are other children so they can organise to meet children at a later date. Children must
        be informed of the dangers of chat rooms.

           Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   20

       Unsuitable material for children – children can be exposed to pictures or written
        material which is pornographic, upsetting or offensive. Sometimes inoffensive materials
        is circulated which seems perfectly innocent such us pictures of children taking part in
        sports activities – children may wish to send pictures of themselves. Sex offenders do
        download this information and can locate a child through the club or project who has
        put the pictures on their website.

Use of computers should be supervised at all times. Having a computer hidden in the corner is
inadvisable and should be avoided. A firewall must be installed and filters set up so that children
and young people cannot access inappropriate sites. The cost of a firewall should be included in
the application for funding.

Help Young People Surf in Safety
    Place the computer a place where others can see it rather than out of sight.
    Search out positive and fun sites.
    Talk with young people to agree the kind of sites they can visit. Check to make sure they
       stay within agreed limits.
    Filtering software is available to screen out some inappropriate sites but often sites and
       users can get around them so stay involved.
    Tell young people not to give out personal details, including their name, address,
       telephone number, Autism Bedfordshire or clubs they may attend to anyone over the
       net. If they arrange meetings make sure a parent or carer goes with them. Make sure
       they do not receive any gifts (electronic or otherwise) from strangers.
    Chat sites are open to misuse, make sure young people are cautious of strangers on-line
       as they are in the world outside. If they receive threats, obscene or threatening
       messages they should not respond. They should let you know and you can contact the
       service provider if appropriate.

Kids' Rules for Online Safety
The following rules should be given to children and young people before they use the internet:-

    1) I will not give out personal information such as my address, telephone number, parents’
       work address/telephone number, or the name and location of my Autism Bedfordshire
       without my parent/ carer’s permission.
    2) I will tell my parent/ carer right away if I come across any information that makes me
       feel uncomfortable.
    3) I will never agree to get together with someone I "meet" online without first checking
       with my parent/ carer. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will be sure that it is in a
       public place and bring my parent/ carer along.
    4) I will never send a person my picture or anything else without first checking with my
       parent/ carer.

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          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
Child Protection Policy   21

    5) I will not respond to any messages that are mean or in any way make me feel
       uncomfortable. It is not my fault if I get a message like that. If I do I will tell my parent/
       carer right away so that they can contact the service provider.
    6) I will talk with my parent/ carer so that we can set up rules for going online. We will
       decide upon the time of day that I can be online, the length of time I can be online and
       appropriate areas for me to visit. I will not access other areas or break these rules
       without their permission.
    7) I will not give out my internet password to anyone (even my best friends) other than my
       parent/ carer.
    8) I will be a good online citizen and not do anything that hurts other people or is against
       the law.

Rules one through six are adapted from the brochure

‘Child Safety on the Information Highway’ by SafeKids.com

SafeKids.Com where you'll find tips, advice and suggestions to make your family's online
experience fun and productive! http://www.safekids.com

What should I do if you come across child pornography on the online?
If you come across any disturbing or obscene material on the net involving children you can
report this to the Internet Watch Foundation. This is the watchdog organisation for the UK
internet industry to get child pornography removed from the internet. Internet Watch
Foundation Hotline: 08456 008844 or alternatively contact the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline
0808 800 5000.

Managing Disclosures
All members of staff, volunteers and governors will know how to respond to a child or young
person who discloses abuse, or where others raise concerns about them and will be familiar
with procedures to be followed.

It is important to remember that the children and young people attending Autism Bedfordshire
activities are on the autism spectrum. Many of them are pre-verbal or non-verbal and even
those who are able to use spoken language may not have the words they need to disclose
abuse. Disclosure may therefore not be verbal but may be demonstrated through behaviour.
Staff should therefore always be alert to even small changes in behaviour, which should always
be taken seriously, recorded and passed on to the Designated Person for Child Protection.

If you are responding to a child making an allegation of abuse:

•Stay calm

•Listen carefully to what is being said

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Child Protection Policy   22

•Give reassuring nods and words of comfort.

•Do not be afraid of silences; remember how difficult this will be for the child

•Allow the child to continue

•Ask questions for clarification only and at all times avoid asking questions that may

suggest a particular answer

•Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling you

•Tell them what you will do next and with whom the information will be shared

•Record in writing what was said using the child’s own words, as soon as possible – note the
date, time, any names mentioned, to whom the information was given and ensure that the form
is signed and dated. Use a child at risk of harm form as detailed below

• The Designated Person for Child Protection will be immediately informed, unless the
disclosure has been made to her.

• In an emergency take the action necessary to help the child, for example dial 999

• Remember information should only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis – do not discuss the
issues with colleagues, friends or family

It is important that everyone at Autism Bedfordshire is aware that the person who first
encounters alleged or suspected abuse is not responsible for deciding whether or not the
abuse has occurred. This is a task for the professional child protection agencies following
referral to them. Anyone can make a referral.

Recording and Reporting Concerns
When concerned about the welfare or safety of a child, staff should always act in the best
interests of the child and have a responsibility to take action as outlined in this policy.

Any concerns staff have should be raised, as concerns may accumulate over a period of time and
may only be evidenced by building up a picture of harm over time. This is particularly the case in
regard to emotional abuse or neglect. Concerns such as these should be recorded and reported
on a Logging Concerns About A Child’s Safety And Welfare form (Appendix 2).

Staff should ensure that forms are filled in fully with sufficient detail. Care should be taken to
record factually and indicate where professional judgements have been made. Forms should be
completed in a timely manner in order that appropriate action can be taken, if necessary by
staff/Appointed Safeguarding Officer. It is important that the member of staff reporting the
Welfare Concern records any action they have taken, for example phoning the parent for more
information, asking a question in the home-scheme book etc.

           Autism Bedfordshire is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 04632497
          Registered Office: Suite B1, 1 Hammond Road, Elms Farm Industrial Estate, Bedford, MK41 0UD.
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